Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 30, 2005

More Bailey on IR's

Charles W. Bailey Jr. has written the next installment of his thoughts on OA archiving, Two Views of IRs, DigitalKoans, April 29, 2005. Much of it is a response to Stevan Harnad's comments on Charles' earlier installments. Excerpt: 'I see the primary challenges being in the areas of achieving buy-in from university administrators and faculty, establishing a wide range of policies and procedures (e.g., acceptable types and formats of material, deposit control and facilitation strategies, copyright compliance procedures, and metadata utilization), recruiting content (including depositing items for faculty if required to help populate the IR), providing user support and training, and providing data migration services as file formats become obsolete....(To clarify one point of confusion, libraries are not generally expecting IRs to solve the e-journal preservation problem. They are turning to solutions such as LOCKSS to do that.) I do not believe that getting faculty to voluntarily deposit e-prints will be easy. I'm not convinced that university administrators are going to be quickly and effortlessly persuaded to endorse Berlin 3 unless it is, in effect, externally mandated (e.g., Research Councils UK proposal). I think that at least a significant subset of universities will want some type of basic vetting of the copyright compliance status of submitted e-prints, and, given the current wide range of variations in publisher copyright agreements and a relatively low level of faculty awareness and interest in copyright matters, that this will be a thorny issue (and one that directly relates to my standard copyright agreement idea).'

Free online biomed literature

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) has launched a brief directory of Free Biomedical Literature Resources. It focuses mostly, but not exclusively, on NLM resources like PubMed, PubMed Central, and the NCBI Bookshelf. (Thanks to Gary Price.)

Implementing the NIH policy

Yesterday, the NIH released a new statement on implementing its public-access policy. Excerpt: 'At the time of submission, authors are given the option to release their manuscripts at a later time, up to 12 months after the official date of final publication. NIH expects that only in limited cases will authors deem it necessary to select the longest delay period....In all cases, approval of the submitted materials and the determination of the public release date require the PI's review and authorization. Currently, the system is designed for individual submissions, but procedures for batch processing of multiple submissions are being explored and may be developed in the future. No further formatting of the manuscript is necessary beyond that required by the accepting journals. Special arrangements will be available for unusual cases....[One step in the submission process:] Review and approve the terms and conditions of a submission agreement and specify the timing of posting of the final manuscript for public accessibility through PMC (this must be completed by the PI). Authors and/or their institutions should ensure that their final manuscript submissions to PMC are consistent with any other agreements, including copyright assignments that they may have, or enter into, with publishers or other third parties. Upon approval of the submission by the PI, the manuscript will be converted into XML - the standardized digital format used by PMC.'

Interview with OAIster's Kat Hagedorn

In its April issue, Research Information interviews Katerina Hagerdorn, director of the OAIster project at the University of Michgan. Excerpt (quoting Hagedorn): 'OAIster has...harvested metadata pointing to digital materials from as many institutions as make their metadata available. Our initial foray in June 2002 gathered 200,000 materials. Two and a half years later we provide search access to over 4.8 million metadata records, and therefore digital materials, from around the world. OAIster has become the de facto digital materials union catalogue....It will be interesting to see where OAI leads - whether to a more fully defined protocol, further protocols that will eventually take the place of the current one, or an entirely new method. In any scenario, the impetus behind developing the OAI protocol will not change. Academic researchers and scholars will always need access to primary source material, and more and more frequently will require it in digital form. What may change is our method of providing it to them.'

Review of three archiving tools

Marion Prudlo, E-Archiving: An Overview of Some Repository Management Software Tools, Ariadne, April 2005. Abstract: 'In recent years initiatives to create software packages for electronic repository management have mushroomed all over the world. Some institutions engage in these activities in order to preserve content that might otherwise be lost, others in order to provide greater access to material that might otherwise be too obscure to be widely used such as grey literature. The open access movement has also been an important factor in this development. Digital initiatives such as pre-print, post-print, and document servers are being created to come up with new ways of publishing. With journal prices, especially in the science, technical and medical (STM) sector, still out of control, more and more authors and universities want to take an active part in the publishing and preservation process themselves. In picking a tool, a library has to consider a number of questions: [1] What material should be stored in the repository? [2] Is long-term preservation an issue? [3] Which software should be chosen? [4] What is the cost of setting the system up? and [5] How much know-how is required? This article will discuss LOCKSS, EPrints and DSpace which are some of the most widely known repository management tools, in terms of who uses them, their cost, underlying technology, the required know-how, and functionalities.'

Friday, April 29, 2005

New OA title added to PubMed Central

Preventing Chronic Disease is an online only, peer reviewed journal produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Preventing Chronic Disease - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) CDC | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1545-1151.

Survey of OA in Europe

Gretchen Vogel and Martin Enserink, Europe Steps Into the Open With Plans for Electronic Archives, Science Magazine, April 29, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'While moves in the United States to make scientific research results available --for free-- at the click of a mouse have generated intense debate, European research organizations have quietly been forging ahead. Slowly but surely, they are starting to build and connect institutional and even nationwide public archives that will, according to proponents, be the megalibraries of the future, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to access papers that result from publicly funded research. "The cutting edge of the Open Access movement is now in Europe," says Peter Suber of Public Knowledge, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C....London's Wellcome Trust, for example, has taken one of the strongest public-access positions worldwide. The U.K.'s largest funder of biomedical research is planning to launch a system that will archive all papers produced by its grantees. Wellcome will require researchers to deposit a copy of the accepted manuscript within 6 months of publication. That goes much further than the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, which decided to "strongly encourage," but not require, grant recipients to post their papers in the U.S. National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central within 12 months of publication...."We are certainly very interested in what Wellcome is doing," says Anthony Peatf ield of the [UK Medical Research Council]. The seven U.K. Research Councils plan to announce their own publicaccess policy next month, which is expected to ask grant recipients to deposit their papers in an archive maintained either by their own institution or, if available, a centralized one like U.K. PubMed Central. Similar projects are under way in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The continent's open-access advocates got a boost in October 2003, when members of several of Europe's leading scientific organizations signed the so-called Berlin Declaration. It says that authors should retain rights to their papers --including the right to distribute electronic copies freely-- and that all papers should be deposited in a public archive.'

Nagoya Mathematical Journal -- OA on Project Euclid

Nagoya Mathematical Journal is the latest small press mathematics journal to benefit from an association with Project Euclid. The most recent five years of the journal have been digitized and mounted. Current issues appear to be created in digital format. Retrospective conversion of the entire backfile, v1-152 (1950-1998), is expected to be finished by late May. All of the material is being released as Open Access.

Nagoya Mathematical Journal - Fulltext v153+ (1999+); ISSN: 0027-7630.

[Thanks to Terry Ehling, Cornell University Library's Director of Electronic Publishing for the notification.]

Adding metadata

A message posted by Eberhard Hilf to the American Scientist Open Access Forum on 29 April, Harvesting from the many OA servers that are not yet OAI-compliant, summarizes some experience with My Meta Maker, which can be used to mark up resources in Physics using the Dublin Core metadata standard. Excerpt: "Just by adding metadata to quantities of OA documents harvested from local research groups using rather than waiting for each institution to make up its mind to adopt an official OA self-archiving policy, we have generated an enormous positive response from authors, gratified at being more cited, being found in google, being phoned and emailed by colleagues, etc.".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

OA and open-source science

S. Sadagopan, Open Source goes beyond software, Financial Express, April 29, 2005. Excerpt: 'What is interesting is that the open source philosophy has deeply influenced many other segments of human endeavour. I will touch upon scientific publishing as one such segment in this column....One clear example of an alternative to 'commercial publishing' is the PubMed Central project of the US National Institute of Health (NIH). It is a free digital archive of citations and scholarly journals. It is not a replacement for publishing, but provides an alternative open and free resource for all humanity. The same group also provided GenBank, the highly successful genetic data sequence repository, that allowed researchers anywhere in the world to tap into the huge database of human genomic sequences....But what really excites me is the Cambia (Italian word for change) Project, that is building an alternative, BIOS (Biological Innovation for Open Society). Bios is extending the Open Source software movement to biological sciences (including agriculture and pharmaceuticals). Their another idea whose time has come. Bio-forge also has an excellent free, full-text access to some key parts of patents' information. I find them to be the best among all online patent tutorials, database, white papers, etc). It will be interesting to watch this Open Source movement over the next decade, as it invades many other territories of human endeavor.'

New OAI harvester for LIS

METALIS is a new search engine from AePIC for OAI-compliant repositories in library and information science. In addition to harvesting the metadata from these repositories, METALIS uses OpenURL to create dynamic links to resouces related to search results. For more details, see Susanna Mornati's announcement.

More on trade embargoes on scientific editing

You probably thought this story was over and done with last year. Not so. Yesterday, three groups representing publishers and writers issued a joint press release on their lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Excerpt: 'The Association of American University Press (AAUP), the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (PSP/AAP), and PEN American Center, the original plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit challenging the scope of OFAC's authority to regulate publishing transactions with sanctioned countries, expressed both appreciation for Nobel Winner Shirin Ebadie's participation in the suit as a co-plaintiff, and understanding of her recently-announced agreement to settle her complaint with OFAC in light of recent revisions to the OFAC regulations that will allow her book to be published in the U.S. However, in light of our concerns regarding OFAC's continued assertion of authority to license such publishing transactions, the original plaintiffs are continuing to discuss these matters with the government and the lawsuit remains pending. In September 2004, the AAUP, PSP/AAP and PEN filed suit against the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, to strike down regulations requiring publishers to seek a license from the government to engage in the routine activities necessary to publish works originating in embargoed nations--regulations which violate the Berman Amendment exempting "information and informational materials" from such embargoes. As a result of the lawsuit, the government has since issued revised regulations and granted a general license to publishers to engage in all activities ordinary and incident to written publications originating in Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. These revisions have allowed many suspended publishing projects to go forward....OFAC still claims the authority to license and control First Amendment-protected activities, a claim which we believe to be untenable. Moreover, the general license that the revised regulations provide to publishers itself contains some troubling provisions. The license excludes the work of senior government officials in embargoed countries.'

Profile of Michael Hart

Hero of the global literacy revolution, The Star Online, April 28, 2005. An unsigned profile of Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg (PG). Excerpt: 'Specifically, PG intends to harness the world’s great literature, making it easily available to as many people as possible. The mission is to collect the largest possible number of works whose copyright had passed into the public domain, digitise them and make this new form of books widely and easily available for free. Prof Hart knows about the power and convenience of books and libraries, and he sees PG as building the biggest library ever. The project became his magnificent obsession.'

19 national libraries in Europe resolve to digitize books

European libraries join forces against Google global virtual library,, April 27, 2005. An unsigned news story. Excerpt: 'Nineteen European national libraries have joined forces against a planned communications revolution by Internet search giant Google to create a global virtual library, organisers said Wednesday. The 19 libraries are backing instead a multi-million euro counter-offensive by European nations to put European literature online. "The leaders of the undersigned national libraries wish to support the initiative of Europe's leaders aimed at a large and organised digitisation of the works belonging to our continent's heritage," a statement said....The statement was signed by national libraires in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. The British National Library has given its implicit support to the move, without signing the motion, while Cyprus and Malta have agreed verbally to the text. Portugal is also set to approve it.' (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

More on what's green

There's some follow-up to Charles Bailey's Tuesday blog article, How green is my publisher? Stevan Harnad wrote an extensive comment on Charles' article, and yesterday Charles wrote an extensive response, Not green enough. For further installments, monitor DigitalKoans, Charles' blog. (PS: I'd excerpt or summarize but I'm on my way out the door on a trip.)

Gearing up for the NIH public-access policy

In preparation for the official implementation date of the public-access policy next Monday (May 2), the NIH has launched (1) a new FAQ specifically on the manuscript-submission process, (2) an email list specifically on the manuscript-submission process, and (3) a helpdesk web form specifically on the manuscript-submission process.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

NEJM on the NIH policy

Robert Steinbrook, Public Access to NIH-Funded Research, New England Journal of Medicine, April 28, 2005. An editorial. Excerpt: '[T]he initiative may continue to rile some journal editors and publishers. Some view aspects of the policy — such as its strong encouragement of ensuring public accessibility of manuscripts "as soon as possible" — as potential threats to the integrity of their content, their Web sites, and their revenue sources. Although the policy states that "the author will specify the timing of the posting of his or her final manuscript," many journals seek to maintain a 6-month or 12-month delay between their publication of an NIH-funded study and its availability through PubMed Central. Some have announced their intention of transferring articles directly to PubMed Central on behalf of their authors, with instructions about when the articles should be made public. A specific concern is the effect of posting a version of a manuscript that may include uncorrected content errors or conclusions that are later revised, particularly if the article has implications for patient care. In response, the National Library of Medicine has said that PubMed Central will be able to accommodate corrections of content errors and other necessary revisions to manuscripts.2 In practice, this may be difficult to do on a consistent basis, particularly when timelines are tight or if PubMed Central is not notified of the necessary changes....[I]nvestigators may be caught between the NIH policy and the policies of journals in which they seek to publish their work, and journals and publishers may be caught between their support for the public health mission of the NIH and their own self-interest....As the public-access policy takes effect, there are high expectations for quick movement toward timely availability of all publications from NIH-supported research. PubMed Central, however, could soon receive 5000 papers a month, or only a few hundred. It should rapidly become obvious whether the policy is working as the NIH — and Congress — intended.'

London Mathematical Society trials OA

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) is exploring a couple of different approaches to the Open Access concept. LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics is a traditional, online only, Open Access journal, launched in 1998. LMS also produces three other research periodicals of more conventional pedigree [title (year established)]: Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society (1865); Journal of the London Mathematical Society (1926); Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society (1969). The two most recent issues of each of the three elder titles will be freely available through 2005.

LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics - Fulltext v1+ (1998+); ISSN: 1461-1570.

Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society - Fulltext Series 3 v74+ (1997+) [subscription] | most recent two issues free through 2005; Print ISSN: 0024-6115 | Online ISSN: 1460-244X.

Journal of the London Mathematical Society - Fulltext Series 2 v59+ (1997+) [subscription] | most recent two issues free through 2005; Print ISSN: 0024-6107 | Online ISSN: 1469-7750.

Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society - Fulltext v29+ (1997+) [subscription] | most recent two issues free through 2005; Print ISSN: 0024-6093 | Online ISSN: 1469-2120.

Celera to make genomic data OA

Andrew Pollack, Celera to Quit Selling Genome Information, New York Times, April 27, 2005. (Requires registration.) Excerpt: "Celera Genomics, which raced with the publicly financed Human Genome Project to decipher the human DNA sequence, has decided to abandon the business of selling genetic information. The company said yesterday that it was discontinuing its genome database subscription business and putting the information into the public domain." The article reports that the company will deposit the data in a federally-run database, but does not specify which. Craig Venter, former leader of Celera, is quoted: "Moving the Celera data into the public domain is something I have been strongly in favor of, and I feel it sets a good precedent for companies who are sitting on gene and genome data sets that have little or no commercial value, but would be of great benefit to the scientific community."

Detailed intro to OA

Charlotte Hess, A Resource Guide for Authors: Open Access, Copyright, and the Digital Commons, The Common Property Resource Digest, March 2005, pp. 1-8. A detailed and comprehensive introduction to OA, including background on the problems it solves, recommendations for authors (covering both OA journals and OA archives), answers to common objections and misunderstandings, and an annotated list of major OA initiatives. Hess and her program at Indiana University maintain the OA repository for her field, Digital Library of the Commons. To encourage scholars in the field of commons and common property to fill the repository, her article includes this exemplary offer: 'Too busy to register (free) and submit your eprint to the Digital Library of the Commons? Send your word file to us at [email address] and we will convert it to .pdf and mount it on the website for you.'

Swedish Research Council supports OA

The Swedish Research Council has decided to support open access. So far the news is only in Swedish, but I'll blog an English translation or summary as soon as I find one. (Thanks to ScieCom.)

More on the forthcoming RCUK policy on OA

Susan Mayor, Research councils' requirements could bankrupt academic journals, BMJ, April 23, 2005. Excerpt: 'Journal publishers are concerned that a new proposal that requires all researchers who receive public research funding to post their results on publicly accessible electronic databases will lead to the financial collapse of many academic journals. The proposal is in a consultation document from the Research Councils UK, which represents the eight research councils in the United Kingdom, including the Medical Research Council....The document says that ideas and knowledge derived from research funded with public money must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly, and effectively as practicable. To achieve this, it proposes that research councils require any researcher awarded a grant from 1 October 2005 to deposit any resulting journal article or conference "in an appropriate e-print repository (either institutional or subject-based), wherever such a repository is available to the award-holder." This would mean that universities and other research institutions would each have an electronic archive of all research done by its staff. Researchers would provide a copy of any paper accepted for publication for the electronic archive. Alex Williamson, publishing director of BMJ Journals, and a council member of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers said, "If this proposal were to go through, it would seriously prejudice the existing subscription based model for journals. If researchers had to put their research on electronic databases, a lot of people would stop subscriptions to journals, which would then go broke and close."...The consensus statement was developed by representatives from the member research councils and representatives from the funding councils, the Consortium of University and Research Libraries, the British Library, the Wellcome Trust, and publishers (commercial, not for profit, subscription based, and open access). It is currently being circulated for comment from a range of groups, including vice chancellors of universities, with plans to publish the final statement in May this year. The Research Councils UK said that it was unable to comment on the concerns of publishers until its consultation was complete.' (Thanks to ScieCom.)

(PS: This is the first public glimpse of the terms of the RCUK policy and confirms rumors that it will mandate OA to publicly-funded research. Mayor mistakenly says that the full policy is online at the RCUK web site. It isn't and won't be until mid-May.)

The economic value of investing in research

From a Florida Department of Education press release, Aprill 20, 2005: 'The Florida Board of Governors today released a study that found that for every additional dollar spent on research at Florida's universities the state enjoys almost $11 in increased economic activity...."As this study documents, research at Florida's public and private universities is an economic engine for our state," said State University System Chancellor Debra Austin. "Our universities are advancing knowledge, educating young Floridians and creating jobs and tax revenue as well."...Tim Lynch, the lead economist on the study, found that the economic benefits of higher education research far outweigh the state's investment. "This is a tremendous return for the taxpayers," Lynch said. "Each dollar spent on research results in an increase of $10.89 in Florida's gross regional product - that's a significant economic gain." Carolyn Roberts, chair of the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's 11 state universities, said the study was the first of its kind. "Until now, there has been no analysis of the economic impact of the more than $1 billion in sponsored research conducted at our universities," Roberts said. "We knew the economic impact was big, but we didn't know how big. These findings are a happy surprise and give clear evidence that the citizens of Florida get a great rate of return when they invest in our institutions."'

(PS: If we can measure the economic return on investments in research, then we should be able to compare the return on toll-access research with the return on open-access research. Econometricians, start your engines. Governments that don't yet mandate OA to publicly-funded research: fund such a study. It will not only support OA, but pay for itself many times over.)

Recent additions to PMC

PubMed Central (PMC) continues to increase the number of journals to which it provides access. Four of the new titles are PMC reproductions of Open Access content hosted by BioMed Central. The fifth journal, NeuroRX, is published by American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics and hosted by HighWire Press.

AIDS Research and Therapy - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1742-6405.

Journal of Inflammation (London, England) - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN:1476-9255.

Molecular Pain - Fulltext v1+ (2005+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN:1744-8069.

Particle and Fibre Toxicology - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN:1743-8977.

NeuroRX - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) 6 month moving wall HighWire Press | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1545-5343 | Online ISSN: 1545-5351.

Forthcoming OA titles at BioMed Central

BioMed Central (BMC) publishes a significant number of journals, primarily entitled BMC "science". In addition, BMC provides a hosting service for independent, Open Access journals, with 70 titles currently in production and eleven in development: Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry; ISSN: 1860-5397. Biological Knowledge; ISSN: 1745-4743. Cough; ISSN: 1745-9974. Diagnostic Pathology; ISSN: 1746-1596. Head & Face Medicine; ISSN: 1746-160X. Immunome Research; ISSN: 1745-7580 International Breastfeeding Journal; ISSN: 1746-4358. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine; ISSN: 1746-4269. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology; ISSN: 1745-6673. Plant Methods; ISSN: 1746-4811. Saline Systems; ISSN: 1746-1448.

Zittrain: The Google library project doesn't violate copyrights

Jessica Yu, Stanford, Google plan massive digitization project despite doubts, Daily Illini, April 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said that Google and Stanford's partnership does not violate copyright law. "Under U.S. law, such digitization is what one would call a 'prima facie' or 'at first glance' infringement," Zittrain wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. "One would then look to legal defenses and privileges, such as fair use, to suggest that on balance, digitizing books that are no longer in print for archival purposes is not, in fact, copyright infringement." According to Google, books considered part of the public domain will be available for full viewing online, while those under copyright or from publishers will only be available in small excerpts. To be considered part of the public domain, books must be copyrighted before 1923 in the United States. Outside of the United States, books must be copyrighted before the 1900s to be considered part of the public domain because different copyright laws apply internationally. By showing only sentences from books not considered in the public domain, Zittrain said, Google appears to abide by the law. "Showing only snippets of a book, rather than entire pages, seems to be classic fair use," he wrote. While some publishers have expressed their concern over the project, none have threatened a lawsuit against Google or any of the participating institutions. "Surely there is a way - through some combination of compulsory licensing, fair use, micropayments, and privileges for educational use - to make millions of obscure but desired works instantly searchable and available to those with interest," said Zittrain.'

New OA journal on human technology

Human Technology: Investigating the human role in existing and emerging technologies is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. The inaugural issue appeared this month. From the web page: 'Human Technology presents innovative, peer-reviewed articles that explore the issues and challenges surrounding the human role in all areas of our ICT-infused societies. The journal seeks to draw research from multiple scientific disciplines with an eye toward how applied technology can affect human existence or how it can, for instance, foster personal development and enhance research and development in industry, education, communication and other fields. Human Technology's dynamic and forward-looking articles are intended for use in both the scientific community and industry and the journal does not set any limits regarding the specialization of its authors. The journal welcomes also difficult or controversial topics, and is interested in publishing non-paradigmatic and non-traditional ideas that meet the criteria for good scientific work. The semi-annual online journal is offered without charge, underscoring the philosophy that good research must be available to all.'

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fair-use licensing for libraries

Pasi Tyrväinen, Fair use licensing in library context, INDICARE, April 25, 2005. Abstract: 'Any technical solution intended to support library exemptions and other fair use provisions has to take into account national regulation, the local use context, and the requirements of business models. In this article a model is proposed for dealing with these challenges. It is exemplified for the library context claiming that it is possible to support library exemptions and still maintain a high level of privacy with DRM systems. Finally new business models for libraries are sketched based on revenue sharing using superdistribution and delivery chain tracking.'

Looking for OA journals in archaeology

Alun Salt, I'm a hypocrite (of sorts), April 25, 2005. A blog posting on OA publishing in archaeology. Excerpt: 'Having praised the Physicists for the use of arXiv. I'm now going to out myself as a hypocrite. I recently heard confirmation that my first paper, 'Knowing when to consult the oracle of Delphi' (co-authored with Efrosyni Boutsikas) will be published. It's not in an open access journal, nor will the offprint appear in an open archive. It's certainly a problem, or at least half a problem. In my defence, apart from AJA there are no suitable open access journals to publish in....There are two good reasons for open access in the humanities (Roy Rosenzweig has several via Open Access News). One is that if the public are paying for the research then they should have a right to be able to access it. I'd be persuaded by this if I'd received any public funding....The second, and far more practical, reason is that I am effectively a second-year PhD student who will need a job soon. The more potential employers that have access to the paper, the better my prospects....Fortunately for this article I've fallen on my feet. It will appear in the September issue of Antiquity, which is the UK's most widely read archaeological journal. Even classical departments should have relatively easy access to it. As far as the public goes, never in my wildest dreams would I imagine anyone paying £50 to subscribe to Antiquity, nor paying £15+VAT for nine pages. It's a shame....'

"Green may not always mean go"

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., How green is my publisher? DigitalKoans, April 26, 2005. Excerpt: 'Back in the early 1990s, I began to fight to retain the copyright to my scholarly writings. First, the publishers thought I was kidding. Then, when it was clear that I wasn't, they thought I was nuts. Generally, they weren't willing to negotiate....Things have changed, in large part do to the growing influence of the open access movement....So, when approached recently about writing a paper for a library publisher (let’s call it X), I fired up Mozilla and looked X up [in the SHERPA database of publisher policies]....Here's what I found. My "preprint distribution rights" allow "posting as electronic files on the contributor’s own Web site for personal or professional use, or on the contributor’s internal university/corporate intranet or network, or other external Web site at the contributor’s university or institution, but not for either commercial (for-profit) or systematic third party sales or dissemination, by which is meant any interlibrary loan or document delivery systems. The contributor may update the preprint with the final version of the article after review and revision by the journal's editor(s) and/or editorial/peer-review board."...We don't have an institutional repository yet, but I assume that "other external Web site" will cover that when we do, check. Wait a minute, what if I want to deposit the e-print in a disciplinary archive like E-LIS or I want to put it in the Internet Archive's upcoming "OAI-compliant 'universal repository"? Looks to me like I’m out of luck. No way to immediately deposit the paper in an OAI-PMH compliant archive that will have a longer life than my Website and that can be harvested by OAI-PMH search services, such as OAIster....So, what can we conclude from this brief dip into the murky waters of author agreements other than retaining rights may still be a good idea (if you can do it)? First, There are swirling currents of complexity beneath the placid surface of color-coded copyright transfer agreement directories. This is not to say that such directories are not indispensible (or not doing a good job), but rather that, given the idiosyncratic nature of such agreements, authors still need to read the details if they want to be fully aware of their residual rights. They may not always like what they find, and what they find may affect their willingness to self archive if it's too limiting or burdensome. "Green" may not always mean "go."...So, maybe it's time to tilt at a new windmill: a set of standardized copyright transfer agreements.'

New OA journal on globalization and health

Greg A. Martin, Globalization and Health, Globalization and Health, April 22, 2005. An editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BioMed Central. Excerpt: 'That the journal be 'Open Access' is entirely appropriate. Knowledge, at its best utility, is a 'public good' i.e. non-rival, non-excludable. While this journal will deal with the subject matter of creating 'global public goods for health', it will also by virtue of its very existence, contribute toward that process. Globalization and Health's 'Open Access' policy changes the way in which articles are published. First, all articles become freely and universally accessible online, and so an author's work can be read by anyone at no cost. Second, the authors hold copyright for their work and grant anyone the right to reproduce and disseminate the article, provided that it is correctly cited and no errors are introduced. Third, a copy of the full text of each Open Access article is permanently archived in an online repository separate from the journal. Globalization and Health's articles are archived in PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's full-text repository of life science literature, and also in repositories at the University of Potsdam in Germany, at INIST in France and in e-Depot, the National Library of the Netherlands' digital archive of all electronic publications. Importantly, the results of publicly funded research will be accessible to all taxpayers and not just those with access to a library with a subscription. As such, Open Access could help to increase public interest in, and support of, research. Note that this public accessibility may become a legal requirement in the USA if the proposed Public Access to Science Act is made law. Added to this, a country's economy will not influence its scientists' ability to access articles because resource-poor countries (and institutions) will be able to read the same material as wealthier ones (although creating access to the internet is another matter).'

(PS: There is no chance that the U.S. Public Access to Science Act --better known as the Sabo bill-- will be enacted. And of course the NIH retreated from requiring OA to NIH-funded medical research. But several European initiatives may require OA to publicly-funded research. For the moment, the most promising is the recommendation of the Berlin3 conference.)

Another journal responds to the NIH policy

Olaf Sparre Andersen, Editorial, Journal of General Physiology, April 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'Finally, I wish to comment briefly on the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on enhancing public access to articles resulting from NIH-funded research, which takes effect May 2, 2005. Under this policy, which will affect more than half of the articles published in the Journal, the NIH requests that publications resulting from NIH-funded research be deposited by the authors in an archive at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). This policy raises a number of issues. Though one can only support the NIH's establishing an online archive, the archive will be incomplete because it will contain only articles resulting from NIH-funded research (published after May 2, 2005). It cannot therefore supplant the much larger archives that already are available through HighWire Press and similar resources. Indeed, the JGP and many other journals already have invested significantly in making their back issues available, and much of this information is not accessible through PubMed. The JGP provides free access to all back issues 12 months after publication. The Rockefeller University Press journals were among the first to institute such a policy. When the online archive became available, we maintained this practice, including the PDFs going back to Vol. 1, issue 1. This practice is being adopted by an increasing number of journals published by scientific societies and other not-for-profit publishers, which means that the most complete, and therefore most useful, archives will be provided by the journals through resources like HighWire. So, though it may be useful for NIH to maintain an electronic archive of publications resulting from NIH-funded research --after all, NIH receives paper copies of publications resulting from NIH-funded research, so why not provide the PDFs-- this archive will not be a major resource. Given this context, the proposed implementation of the new policy is likely to become a burden to both authors and readers, because NIH/NLM does not wish to receive PDFs of the published articles, only the accepted manuscripts (in precopyedited form). It therefore will be a burden on the authors to ensure that the articles in the NLM Archive are identical in content to the articles in the Journal's (or any other publisher's) web site. We can safely assume that glitches will occur, so it also will be a burden on the readers to ensure that they indeed are reading and referring to the article of record. The accompanying editorial by Mike Rossner [PS: blogged here on April 11], Editorial Director at The Rockefeller University Press and Managing Editor of the Journal of Cell Biology, describes some of the concerns that affect all of us, whether we are users or publishers of the scientific literature.'

(PS: One key correction. The NIH welcomes publisher PDFs. If publishers are willing to submit them, then NIH will replace the author's version with the publisher's version.)

Janes on Lynch on repositories

Joseph Janes, What I Learned This Week, American Libraries Online, April 2005. Excerpt: 'My favorite sentence [from a recent Clifford Lynch talk at the U of Washington]? "We are only now getting over the assumption that we write articles to be read by other people." If you want your writing to be widely found, it has to go through an increasing number of computational processes, including spidering, indexing, data mining, and machine translation; and new generations of such beasts are constantly under development....A great deal of the recent discussion around scholarly communication has focused on institutional repositories, which could be maintained by universities to provide access to the scholarly work of the faculty without going through the traditional journal-publishing model. It's possible that this could provide significant savings; Lynch lodged this in the larger context of attempts to open materials to wider audiences. This is a concern of museums with huge collections that can’t possibly all be put on display, state-supported colleges trying to demonstrate their value to taxpayers, and the growing movement to make government-supported research results available to the public that paid for them. He also suggested that a university-based repository might capture published output as well as more of the intellectual life of the campus, including symposia, performances, and even the work of student groups. Finally (and believe me, I'm leaving out a ton here), he tossed in an observation about Google Scholar. There has been a lot of hand-waving about this (and Google Print, and Google’s other announcements du jour); as usual, I got a new insight from Lynch. Google Scholar, he said, is the company's first approach into the invisible web and as such will raise the cost of entry for new potential web-search companies. No longer will a couple of guys in a garage with a great idea and a few servers be able to make an impression in the search world. The deep web will have to be involved, which means deals with content providers. All of a sudden the web-search world starts to look a lot more like the traditional content industry...."

Free online science and engineering resources from Knovel

Knovel has launched K-Essentials, a series of free online science and engineering references. Access is not quite "open" however. From yesterday's press release: 'The K-Essentials program provides unlimited access for organizations and makes quality information convenient to find and use. K-Essentials users also benefit from Knovel’s dedicated technical support and customer service. To gain access to the K-Essentials program, free subscription requests must be made through a librarian, information specialist, or departmental manager. Qualified professionals may apply at:'

JISC guides for publishers

JISC has issued a "fact file" called JISC and the Information Environmentn to help publishers understand how to make their digital publications more interoperable for academic users. Excerpt: 'Most online resources and services have traditionally been developed in isolation. Each has its own name, its own interface, features and search facilities. Users cannot possibly come to grips with them all, nor have the time to search each individually. As a result, the considerable public and commercial investment into resource creation is not being realised. JISC is working to address this by developing tools and mechanisms to foster an online Information Environment (IE) that will allow online services to 'work together' (called interoperability) in a secure way for the bene?t of its user community.' The document contains links to other fact files on metadata, usage data, OpenURL, RSS, current awareness, and authentication.

Monday, April 25, 2005

More on the Access to Knowledge (a2k) treaty

Michael Geist, We can help bridge the digital divide, Toronto Star, April 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'Earlier this month, the World Intellectual Property Organization hosted groundbreaking discussions in Geneva. The U.N. agency, which for years has been associated with ever-increasing intellectual property protections for the developed world, held talks about initiating a new intellectual property development agenda that holds the potential to shift some of its focus to the needs of the developing world. Although the precise issues to be addressed within the agenda are yet to be determined, a key element is the creation of an Access to Knowledge Treaty. It could include provisions on access to medicines and globally funded research, open access to scholarly research, as well as exceptions to patent and copyright laws that serve the interests of the developing world.'

More on the ACS complaint about PubChem

Susan Morrisey, Database Debate, Chemical and Engineering News, April 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'When NIH rolled out its publicly available chemical structure database last fall, officials at the American Chemical Society saw a product that they say looks a lot like a database of its own--the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry. ACS officials are worried about the consequences of a free government service competing with an established private-sector business. The NIH database, known as PubChem, is a key piece of the Molecular Libraries & Imaging component of the agency's Roadmap for Medical Research. PubChem is designed to integrate chemical information on compounds produced by NIH's molecular libraries screening centers with other databases supported by the National Library of Medicine. Like the CAS Registry, PubChem provides chemical structures and links to literature references. PubChem is supposed to focus on connecting chemical information on small organic molecules that have potential use in drug development with biomedical research. "We think this an unwise use of taxpayer money that should be used for research, and it is direct and unfair competition with the CAS Registry, a valuable database that ACS built up over the years with its own funding and decades of intellectual curation of data." Robert J. Massie, president of CAS, agrees that PubChem has overstepped its function. "NIH is going beyond its stated purposes and is creating a replica service to the CAS Registry," he comments. "If NIH would limit itself to publishing NIH-funded information, this controversy would disappear immediately."...NIH, on the other hand, views PubChem as complementary to the CAS Registry. National Institute of General Medical Sciences Director Jeremy Berg explains that PubChem is duplicative only in the sense that both databases are indexes of compounds...."The links from PubChem are to data that are already publicly available--for example, the National Cancer Institute screening data, data that will come from the roadmap," and other links to the biomedical literature, Berg says. "What CAS covers is links to things like chemical literature, patent literature, and reactions."'

New issue of Access

Sunday, April 24, 2005

New TEI wiki

The Text Encoding Initiative has launched a wiki.

Van de Sompel on the future of repositories

Herbert Van de Sompel, Challenges ahead, a slide presentation at Kos, Greece, April 18, 2005. On the future of digital repositories, especially when we recognize their many uses and many kinds of content, facilitate access to their full contents (not just metadata), ensure a clean machine interface for downstream applications, and build a global network of interoperable repositories. (Thanks to Lorcan Dempsey.)

More on the BBC Creative Archive

John Naughton, Priceless thinking at the BBC, The Guardian, April 24, 2005. Excerpt: 'Until recently, everything was going [copyright owners'] way. Clueless legislators were bamboozled by lobbying propaganda about the need to protect 'property' and stamp out 'piracy' and 'theft'. Mass media - generally owned by outfits with a vested interest in strong IP law - reported the issue in terms that were at best uninformed and at worst rabidly partisan. And nobody, beyond a few isolated voices, spoke out for the public interest. Or pointed out the implications for free culture of a world in which every idea, and every expression of an idea, is 'owned' by someone (usually a company). Nobody asked what would become of music if every songwriter had to pay a royalty on every idea they'd borrowed from earlier songs. Or what would happen to film-making if the rights to every out-of-focus billboard, chair, poster or magazine cover had to be cleared and paid for before movies could be released....Until recently, this was the way the world was heading. But now something significant has happened to buck the trend. The BBC - the world's greatest creator of high-quality multimedia products - has finally launched its Creative Archive....The world's leading public-service broadcaster is declaring it believes that creative output for which the public has paid should be in the public domain. This is big news. Some years ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology blew the nascent educational-content business out of the water by making its courseware available for free on the web. Who would pay for content from Mickey Mouse universities when MIT's was free? By challenging the IP mania that threatens to engulf us, the Creative Archive project is doing something similar. And in the process showing us what public-service broadcasting is for.'

Stevan Harnad's Haworth column, first in a series

Stevan Harnad, On Maximizing Journal Article Access, Usage and Impact, Haworth Press, April 21, 2005. The first in a series of occasional columns called "Skywritings: Scholarly and Leisurely". This inaugural column brings readers up to speed on current OA issues, to set the stage for future columns. Excerpt: 'The mainstay of an author's research usage and impact is, and will remain, the publication of the article in the best possible peer-reviewed journal in its field. The bulk of the usage and citations will come from those users who have an individual or institutional subscription or site-license to the journal in which it is published (and, increasingly, to the online version of that journal). But the online age has also provided a way for authors to maximize their articles' usage and impact by supplementing this paid access to the publisher's official version of their article with an open access version of the article that authors self-archive on their own institutional websites for any would-be users webwide who cannot afford the paid access to the publisher's official version. A growing number of studies is showing that articles that have been supplemented with such self-archived versions have higher (and sometimes substantially higher) citation impacts than articles that have not been self-archived. All parties to the research publication and production co-benefit from this supplementary open-access self-archiving: Authors, their institutions, their funders, their publishers, and research itself. The author receives more citations (as well as more downloads). The institution has greater research impact, and its research output is more visible, attracting more researchers, students, and research funding. The research funder (and the tax payer funding the funder) receives greater return on their investment in the research. The journal gains a higher citation impact factor, wider visibility and greater usage per published article. And of course the progress and productivity of researchers and research itself are enhanced.'